It’s no secret the New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick loves having Alabama players on his roster. There are currently five Crimson Tide players on the Patriots roster, including Mack Wilson who the team acquired this month via trade and in his latest mock draft, NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has the Patriots selecting Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams at No. 21.

Williams is coming off a torn ACL he suffered during the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Jan. 10. He spoke earlier this month about his rehab process at the NFL Combine.

"I was hearing five to seven months [to recover], but I'm hearing I'm ahead of schedule," Williams said. "Hopefully things keep going on this track and we'll be back as soon as possible."

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Although Williams will not be ready for the start of the 2022 season, the speedy wideout can be viewed as a long term investment for Mac Jones. In a conference, that features a number of prolific quarterbacks and wide receivers, New England has to make a big move in next month’s draft to help out their young quarterback.

"He said at the combine that he's ahead of schedule in his recovery, but it's possible he misses a chunk of the season while rehabbing," said Kiper Jr. "New England could afford to wait for a receiver with true No. 1 upside who could be a star for years to come. And we know Belichick has a history of taking Alabama stars."

Williams transferred to Alabama after spending his first two seasons at Ohio State and quickly became one of Bryce Young’s favorite targets. He caught 79 passes for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns, which earned him Consensus All-American honors. His nine touchdowns of 40-plus yards led the country. Williams is also electric on special teams, returning 10 kickoffs for 352 yards and two scores.

“I’ve got speed that you can’t teach,” Williams said. “I’ve got a lot of speed.”

The NFL draft gets underway on Thursday, April 28 in Las Vegas.

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